For folks who have been following along on my social media pages, you know that I’ve been working my way through the Classified review backlog a bit. I’m happy to say I’m (more or less) caught up. No I haven’t reviewed Profit Director Destro, Arctic Storm Shadow or Snake Supreme COBRA Commander yet, but I’m not sure I’ll get those done or not. I love ’em, just– gotta prioritize, you know?
At this point, I’ve added Zartan, COBRA Infantry, Firefly and COBRA Viper to the G.I. Joe: Classified Review Page. If you haven’t checked them yet, now’s your chance!
It’s tough to say whether the leak of information and images had anything to do with a reveal of the upcoming G.I. Joe/Transformers ComicCon set, but whatever the reasoning, we now have official press photos of the set to share as revealed by Uproxx yesterday.
EDIT – Original source of the images (as I should have guessed) is ACToys here. I’ve mirrored a bunch more images and added them to the gallery below. This set is looking even better!
Labeled as only coming from the “Chinese Web” new images of what is believed to be the upcoming G.I. Joe ComicCon set have emerged on the G.I. Joe Discussion group on Facebook.
This year’s SDCC exclusive appears to be a Rattler repaint as Powerglide, with Scarlett facing off against a HISS repaint as Soundwave, with Zartan! Very cool looking repaints, for sure, and I’m loving that Scarlett build, though not really wild about the 25th Anniversary head sculpt.
I really loved the Retaliation Zartan as well, it will be interesting to see what the differences are between this one and the previous.
Choosing the repaint the Direct to Consumer HISS Tank is an awesome idea, too, and I’m digging those Soundwave missile launchers at the turret. Really creative stuff.
Not only is it cool to see these, but there are two slots in the crossword puzzle to fill in! Check out the mirrored images below, and hit up the G.I. Joe Discussion Group on Facebook to join in the talk!
A 50th Anniversary three-pack that includes my favorite G.I. Joe character and one of my favorite COBRA characters? Seems like a dream come true. Not only are they giving us an update to COBRA’s venerable master of disguise, but they’re basing the figure on the Concept Case version, a rendition of Zartan that has been a fan favorite for the past few years.
I’m not entirely sure what Hasbro used as source material for this particular version of Zartan, with the gray shirt and differently armored legs. Perhaps it’s a feeling that here in the 21st Century a dude in a hood and armored belly shirt doesn’t have the same gravitas as he did over 30 years ago? I’m not sure, but I don’t mind.
The parts are all reused, with what I believe is the G.I. Joe: Resolute Duke’s torso and the familiar Zartan head and arms. The legs belong to the Pursuit of Cobra Jungle Attack Snake Eyes, which is a pretty awful figure, but the legs themselves manage to translate okay to this updated figure. The strange thigh pads are an interesting call back to the original Zartan, though the slanted leg armor looks considerably different than his vintage styled ones. I don’t mind, though, it’s a great updated look for him.
Zartan’s articulation is decent. His arms are carried forward from the 25th Anniversary version, but unlike many figures of that era, the range of motion is actually okay. Sculpting is a little soft there, however, making his arms look a bit slim and underdetailed.
The head and hood are great looking, and I like the more bulky armored legs. Wearing a shirt underneath his armor works fine for me as well, and even if it doesn’t have a real link to a different media, it’s a cool look, and when he wears a mask without the armor on, he looks at least a little bit more like a guy in disguise. Just a little, though. Zartan mostly has his classic paint scheme, with brown pants and a brown hood over a gray shirt and a healthy helping of very cool almost reflective metal for the chest armor, shoulder pads, and leg armor. It’s a great look for him and makes him look classic as well as gives him a shot of something different.
Anyone who has owned previous versions of Zartan will find a lot of familiar gear here, including the removable armor, his trademark backpack, and three different masks. He also comes with the same knife he’s come with since the first 25th Anniversary version (though unfortunately he has nowhere to store it) as well as the multi-crossbow launcher that has come with a number of other figures. He’s pretty well equipped and the accessories all add something nice to the overall look and feel of the figure.
Out of all the concept case entries that were visible at JoeCon several years ago, the Zartan update didn’t really speak to me. I wasn’t sure what the motivator was behind the aesthetic changes, but now that I’ve got this figure in hand, it’s got some interesting updates and I can’t find much to complain about. Of course there aren’t a whole lot of improvements here when compared to a couple of spectacular figures like the Resolute Zartan or Pursuit of Cobra Zartan, but as far as classic looking updates go, it works okay.
I still feel like Zartan deserves the “Ultimate” treatment, similar to COBRA Commander, Destro, Storm Shadow, and Firefly, and maybe some day we’ll get it. For those looking for the ‘be all end all’ version of him, this isn’t it. That doesn’t make it bad, and in fact, I find it to be a very entertaining update, but for anyone who is looking for that sort of figure, I want to make sure expectations fall where they should be.
50th Anniversary Zartan
I’m a huge fan of Zartan as a character, and wasn’t really captivated by the Concept Case update that I saw at JoeCon a few years ago. However, I know a lot of fans were, and can understand why Hasbro went that way. The updated look as a lot of classic homage with it, but with a few more modern parts to add a bit of variety. It doesn’t feel like a fantastic update, but it’s fine, all told.
1 – I like the aesthetic of the added shirt underneath the chest armor
2 – Reflective metal paint apps on the legs and torso look great
3 – A bunch of useful gear, including the three masks, which offers some great playability
1 – 25th Anniversary parts look dated and don’t move as well as more modern counterparts
2 – Not a drastic enough improvement to the classic version to feel like an update worth doing
If you’re a fan of high end G.I. Joe items and statuary, you should appreciate the special deal from Sideshow Collectibles today on their Flint vs. Zartan statue! They are offering double reward points on the item, so if you buy it today, you earn $24.50 in reward points.
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